The Chennai Connection – Arun Kumar Manickavasagam

Cricket has been my passion since childhood days. No matter which team played, I would sit for hours in front of the television set listening to commentary intently and watching the gentleman’s game. I loved all formats of the game. With time, my love for cricket grew so much that I wouldn’t even change uniforms and go play tennis ball cricket right after school with my street friends.

A scholarship to pursue my PhD at UC combined with my passion for cricket with the 2015 cricket world cup being staged in this part of the world was one of the powering factors that made me gravitate to New Zealand. I initially approached clubs with visions of playing professional cricket one day but I did not hear back. But things took turn for the better when a friend sent me an e-mail about Burnside West Christchurch University Cricket Club (BWCUCC) looking for a scorer/statistician.

Before I started turning in the application for the job, I thought I had to put the numbers up on the scoreboard: runs and wickets after every over, but for me it was an opportunity to stay in touch with the game that was so dear to me. Instead, the club provided me a i-pad to score using the CricHQ App. For more details on scoring using CricHQ App please follow the link Scoring – CricHQ Support This involves detailed scoring, for instance, for a batsman, wagon wheels are prepared showing the areas on the field where majority of his runs came from and for a bowler, beehive chart showing where the bowler’s balls have arrived at the batsman (high, low, wide, on the off stump etc.) while the pitch map reveals where the balls pitched (short, good length, full length, half volley etc.). Both charts can also reveal the results of these balls (dots, runs, boundaries or wickets).

I have had many special moments in my scoring journey from de Villiers asking me if I was still hanging around when he returned from training and favoriting my tweet, me and a group of friends posing with Kumar Sangakkara only to realize my friend had pressed the wrong button resulting in me turning up the next day all on my own to take a photo with KS, a surreal moment when Rahul Dravid once walked over asking where the scoreboard was during a warm-up game at the U-19 CWC between India and South Africa, standing behind all-rounder Vijay Shankar during a warm-up game at the coffee truck where he asked me if I’d like a cup of coffee, Ashwin giving me a tutorial on how to take selfies, Misbah’s aura as he gently touched my shoulder when I politely asked him for a photo and exchanging New Year’s greetings, talking about cultural differences with Pakistan’s Rohail Nazir when rain stopped play and lately scoring a game when Fleming’s eyes lit up when I told him I am from Chennai and he quipped “Well scored” with a few words in Tamil.

In particular reference to BWCUCC, I still vividly remember the very first game I scored between Burnside West and Marist Harewood, a 2-day game in which the current Blackcap Tom Latham scored a 78 batting at No. 4. It was a humbling experience for me when we exchanged a few words at our club tearoom when Tom greeted me while making my cup of tea. Also, last year I was involved with SKY to create the highlights package for the Test between India and New Zealand at Hagley Oval, Christchurch and now I sit back with a cup of tea and biscuits enjoying the current World Test Championship between two top teams: India – a country from where my passion for cricket was born and New Zealand – a country that gave shape to my passion.

This game has given me much more than what I had anticipated initially and I am extremely grateful for it and the many people I have encountered along the way. I sometimes get asked from other non-playing cricket enthusiasts on how best they could become something and the advice I was given by other experts of the game was “keep in touch with the game in any capacity that appeals to you (scorer, umpire, analyst, writer, commentator, coach, cricket show host or just an enthusiastic cricket fan etc. ) and do it because you love the game” and I would pass on the same.

Kind Regards,

Arun Kumar Manickavasagam

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